As we spend time learning Pidgin one of our main tactics is known (in our world) as elicitation.* Our strategy is to draw out a phrase or story that might give us insight into something we are investigating within the language. When trying to elicit a phrase it is important to avoid a direct translation and instead get a native speaker to tell us what he would say in the situation we are asking about.
The best way to find out how PNGians speak naturally in a given situation is to actually witness the situation and hear what they say. Unfortunately, not everything we are trying to learn comes up in a daily routine. So instead of constantly asking “How do you say…?” we must describe hypothetical situations and ask what they would say under certain circumstances. Then, hopefully, we get a natural response rather than a word for word translation that would make us sound like an foreigner. Lots of times this works very well. Not today.
Today we took the two objects pictured above planning to ask Hoax to tell us about the differences between them. Our goals were:
- Learn a good way to ask “What’s the difference between X and Y?”
- Hear Hoax give a description of two different things so we could learn how they compare and contrast things.
I thought the two objects would give us ample opportunity for comparing and contrasting shape, color, size, firmness and texture. Here is how the conversation went (except it was in Pidgin):
*From the root elicit. Not to be confused with illicit.